Upbeat: Come in, No 99

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IT's early music year at the Henry Wood Proms: 11 concerts out of 67 focus on the Classical period or earlier. And you had better seize the chance, because there won't be much of it about during the 100th season coming up in 1994. So said John Drummond, director of the Proms, launching this summer's plans at the BBC this week. It isn't exactly a theme - Drummond has never been keen on those - but it makes a thread to follow through the season, which runs from 16 July to 11 September and generally continues the pluralist pattern that has grown up over recent years.

Young performers are another thread, with three home-grown youth orchestras and two international ones, and three college or cathedral choirs - a deliberate effort, says Drummond, to give prominence to high levels of achievement at a time when the provision of music education is a hot issue. Only two commissions feature this year, from John Buller and Nicholas Sackman; but eight UK premieres include the complete Henze Requiem, given at the novel hour of 12 noon on a Sunday.

If there is a hint of tightened belts, Drummond was forthright about one of the problems: they are getting to a stage, he said, where they are losing artists through not being able to meet their demands for fees. This signals worries about keeping up the international character that the Proms have now established, though they haven't prevented a first-night spectacular with Andrew Davis conducting a starry cast in Strauss's Elektra. For the all-British last night Davis hands over to Barry Wordsworth, and the patriotic mezzo this year is Della Jones. All concerts will go out on Radio 3; several are live on television, possibly including Wynton Marsalis's late-night jazz programme. Maurizio Pollini, a notably reluctant presence on screen, gets there on 6 September.

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